McGinest: Clowney shouldn't be taken first

McGinest: Clowney shouldn't be taken first
May 8, 2014, 7:45 pm
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(AP Photo)

FOXBORO -- Willie McGinest knows edge defenders. Defensive ends, outside linebackers. They were roles he played in the NFL for 15 years.

There's an edge rusher in this year's draft who's projected to go No. 1 overall: South Carolina's Jadaveon Clowney. McGinest is not a fan.

The first-round pick of the Patriots back in 1994 said in a press conference with reporters at Gillette Stadium that if the top pick was his, he'd steer clear of Clowney. Not because of Clowney's talent -- of that he's got a ton -- but because of his love of the game.

"We've seen a lot of really talented players come through the league," McGinest said. "I think he's exceptional talent-wise. I just don't know if he really loves the game of football and how much he's really gonna put into day in, day out what it really takes to be a true professional.

"That's just my personal opinion. It just seems like all football players, especially at my position, the d-end, outside linebacker, we all have switches. For most of you guys who covered me when I was here, if somebody said something about me, I took it personal. If somebody said I didn't work hard enough or I was gonna get my ass kicked by a player the upcoming week or whatever the case may be, I'd take it personal and that switch would go off.

"In my opinion I don't always see that switch [in Clowney]. Somebody tells me his work ethic isn't there. Somebody doesn't know if he's gonna be consistent or his motor . . . and I don't really see that."

McGinest went on to say that Clowney might be an especially bad fit in Houston.

"Do you have enough guys in the locker room, here we had enough guys," McGinest said of his time with the Patriots. "Anybody could come into our locker room, he would have to get on board, he didn't have a choice. Everybody was on the same page. When you have a young player like that -- big personality and they're talking more about him more than 50-60 percent of guys that's already in the league -- once he comes in that door, how many guys do you have in that locker room, when he's not doing what he's supposed to do, when he's not working hard enough, when he's not putting forth the effort? How many guys -- maybe JJ Watt on the defensive side and that's it? -- can go up to him and say anything and he'll respect it. He'll digest it and actually do it, or maybe he won't. You gotta look at that too."

So where would McGinest go with the first overall pick if he were Bill O'Brien?

"They need a quarterback," he said. "I don't care how good you are defensively. You can have a great defense, but you've gotta be able to score points. If you've got young talent on the offensive side, if you've got a running game . . . You got a good solid defense already. Of course Clowney, if he came in and did whatever he did what he was supposed to do the right way, he would make them five times better as a defense.

"But they already had that problem they saw with Matt Schaub, they tried it with TJ Yates, it didn't work. Case Keenum, that experiment went wrong. [Ryan] Fitzpatrick, he's a turnover waiting to happen in my opinion to be honest with you. Whose gonna lead that team offensively? Unless you find somebody in free agency, and I don't think they did that. If you pick a guy, maybe you can trade down, maybe you don't have to take him at one, maybe you can trade down and get a really good prospect who fits the system. They got a really good team. Remember that team was 13-3 the year before last. They gotta get back on track."